Lunch Break: The Healthiest and Worst Dishes at Newton’s Noodles

It’s hard to go wrong at this downtown Asian-style lunch spot.

It's hard to go wrong at this downtown Asian-style lunch spot, says registered dietitian Jared Rice. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Newton’s Noodles opened in September, offering downtown workers a fast-casual spinoff of the Bethesda restaurant Newton’s Table. The Asian-style Chipotle setup offers appetizers such as sesame-crusted ahi tuna and heaps of noodles piled into takeout boxes.

After trying out the spot ourselves one day, we had to know: What’s the healthiest item on the menu? We turned to registered dietitian and health and fitness specialist Jared Rice for the nutritional breakdown of Newton’s Noodles.

The good news: “In general, you can’t go too wrong on this menu from a health perspective,” he says.

Read on to see Rice’s picks for which bowls and appetizers to order—and which ones to skip.

Unhealthiest appetizer: Beef wontons
Anything that’s fried is a big no-no, says Rice. To make things worse, the wontons contain red meat. The dipping sauce is aïoli, which “is predominantly fat, as well, and typically made of oil and egg yolks.”

Healthiest appetizer: Soba salad with ceviche
The nutrient-dense and fiber-rich soba noodles paired with ceviche and vegetables makes for a balanced meal or appetizer to share with friends.

Unhealthiest custom bowl: rice noodles, original soy, onions, peppers, carrots, beef, scallions, and peanuts
White rice noodles just don’t offer enough nutrients or fiber to keep one satiated, and out of all the proteins, beef is your least healthiest option. Also, original soy sauce is, of course, packed with sodium: Just one tablespoon contains 533 milligrams of sodium.

Healthiest custom bowl: soba noodles, coco-curry sauce, onions, sprouts, broccoli, chicken, peanuts, and cilantro
When making your own bowl, opt for soba noodles, since buckwheat offers more nutrients and fiber than white rice noodles. While any vegetable is good, Rice says broccoli is “especially strong,” thanks to its cancer-fighting properties. Chicken is among the leaner protein options, and tofu is a solid vegetarian option.

Healthiest signature bowl: coco-curry
“Tough call here,” says Rice. But of the two signature bowls offered, the coco-curry bowl, with rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, scallops, and a wealth of vegetables, is the better choice. It may be high-calorie due to the coconut milk, but Rice points out that curry is “packed with spices that are high in antioxidant phytonutrients.”